Effects of temperature and relative humidity on the partitioning of atmospheric oxidized mercury at a high-altitude mountain background site in Taiwan

Ly Sy Phu Nguyen, Guey Rong Sheu, Shuenn Chin Chang, Neng Huei Lin

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gas-particle partitioning of oxidized mercury (Hg) plays an important role in governing the speciation, transport and deposition of atmospheric Hg. Although studies on gas-particle partitioning of oxidized Hg have been conducted at some urban sites, comparable studies at remote mountain sites are still limited. This study analyzes multi-year (2014–2016) data of speciated atmospheric Hg concentrations from Lulin Atmospheric Background Station (LABS, 2862 m above sea level), Taiwan, to explore the factors that influence the gas-particle partitioning of atmospheric oxidized Hg. Mean concentrations (±S.D.) of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM), and particulate-bound mercury (PBM) were 1.54 ± 0.34 ng m−3, 14.5 ± 26.5 pg m−3, and 5.0 ± 12.0 pg m−3, respectively. In addition, our results indicated that the partitioning of Hg(II) toward particles was favored in the upper free troposphere and/or lower stratosphere. Both temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) were found to strongly affect the gas-particle partitioning of oxidized Hg. Significant negative correlations between the partitioning coefficient (Kp) and T were obtained for all seasons, but peaked in summer. When RH<30%, Kp decreased with increasing RH. However, Kp and RH were positively correlated when RH>30%. Two empirical Kp-T and Kp-T-RH regression equations: log(1/Kp) = 15.0 – 3887.6(1/T) and log(1/Kp) = 17.92 – 4390.0(1/T) – 0.016RH were developed for free tropospheric air downwind of continental East Asia, which could be implemented in a chemical transport model to improve our understanding of the Hg biogeochemical cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118572
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume261
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • East Asia
  • Free troposphere
  • Gas-particle partitioning
  • Mercury speciation

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